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2016 Governors Conference Speakers

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2016 Governor's Conference

2016 Governors Conference Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Georgianne Brown

Breakout Speakers

         
         
         
         
     
 
 
   

 

Keynote Speaker Presentations & Bios


Peter Avis

Virgin Group, Brand Ambassador

Babylon Restaurant (Virgin Limited Edition), Restaurant Manager

Great Hospitality Starts with Your People, Think in the Box!

Starting with his journey in hospitality from dishwashing in Fort Lauderdale, today, Peter Avis is a multi Award-winning Manager within the Virgin Group.  His presentation will deliver:

• How we deliver great service
• Staff retention
• How we are a business which puts focus on being a force for good and giving back
• The importance of brand integrity and how we get our team to be part of this
• The wow factors
• Embracing the digital age within our sector

Peter Avis Bio:

Since 2001 Peter Avis has been the Restaurant Manager at the prestigious Babylon Restaurant, at The Kensington Roof Gardens in London. During this period he has worked directly for Virgin Group Chief, Sir Richard Branson. In 2009 Peter won the highly coveted UK Restaurant Manager of the Year Award and a prestigious Catey Award for Manager of the Year in 2014.

Peter is passionate about raising people’s awareness of the importance of front of house staff in his industry. He says “I also want to inspire people in the industry and, of course keep developing Babylon. I’m always on the lookout for new concepts.” Richard Branson is highly supportive and complimentary of his employee whom he has worked with for the past 14 years. In 2014 Peter was the recipient of the Richard Branson Special Award for Services to the Community.

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Georgianne Brown

Big Couch Media Group, Managing Partner

 

Purchasing Habits Through Different Life Stages and How it Relates to Marketing

As marketers, we have been trained to deliver targeted marketing messages based on our audience.   Never however, has it become more complex, as we drill down to deeper into the purchasing habits and nuances required to attract, engage, and ultimately convert each of the unique market segments.   Each generation and life stage has different wants and needs, and therefore requires an understanding how to most effectively communicate with each distinct segment - it’s not a one size fits all.   

In this session we will cover:

• The characteristics of each market segment from baby boomers to Millennials 
• What media channels are most effective in reaching and engaging with each of the segments 
• How messaging needs to be customized to speak to each of these distinct audiences 
• Key takeaways, considerations, and recommendations for moving forward

Georgianne Brown Bio:

Georgianne Brown is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Big Couch Media Group, a leading strategic consulting and full service digital agency based in West Palm Beach, Florida.   Georgianne has over 25 years of extensive hands on background and proven track record in leading many highly recognized brands, organizations, and entrepreneurial growth companies to leverage the power of digital media.

Prior to Big Couch Media Group, Georgianne served as President at BabyUniverse.com, a publicly traded leading online retailer and digital media company for new and expectant parents. Georgianne was a key member of the leadership team involved in completing a $276 million merger with eToys Direct in 2007.

In addition, Georgianne has held several key senior executive management roles in travel and tourism most notably at Certified Vacations Group, at the time, exclusive operator of the Delta Vacations and Continental Airlines Vacations brands, as well as led consumer marketing at Alamo Rent A Car.

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Dr. Garrey Carruthers

New Mexico State University, President (New Mexico Governor from 1987 – 1991)
 

Special Announcement with Dr. Garrey Carruthers

New Mexico State University President and Former Governor, Dr. Garrey Carruthers will kick-off the new destination specific; industry approved, customer service training program, Visitor Journey A2D.

Dr. Gerrey Carruthers Bio:

As 27th president of New Mexico State University, Garrey Carruthers oversees the university’s comprehensive research and land-grant functions, which serve a diverse population at five campuses, a satellite learning center in Albuquerque, 33 county and three tribal Cooperative Extension Offices and 13 Agricultural Experiment Station science centers.

He served as the Governor of New Mexico from 1987 to 1991.

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Scott Cassidy

Disney Parks & Resorts, SVP, Global Alliance Marketing (retired)
 

Growing The Customer Experience

Making the sale and providing friendly customer service is good…but building upon that initial experience to create a lifetime customer is great! Is that even possible? In his upcoming conversation, Scott Cassidy will discuss growing the customer experience. He’ll talk about the importance of defining what you are known for [or what you want to be known for]…identifying your potential audience…positioning yourself to that audience…and keeping your product [and perhaps more importantly your message] fresh, interesting and urgent to keep your customers coming back again and again. During the hour Scott will share some of the programs that he and his teams developed and executed over his 28 year career with Disney Parks; programs that were designed to attract new customers as well as bring back past ones.

Scott Cassidy's Bio:

For the past 28 years Scott Cassidy has been one of the Disney Parks Marketing “Magic Makers”. Until his recent retirement from Disney, Scott served as Senior Vice President, Global Alliance Marketing, Media Strategy & Activation and Yellow Shoes Creative Group Operations for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. In that capacity, Scott led a team of over 300 people in PR, Promotions, Special Events, Broadcast, Synergy, Creative Ideation, Digital Marketing, Media Planning, Search and Auction and Yellow Shoes Operations Cast members. Scott oversaw media promotions, third party partnerships, public relations, on and off-property special events, broadcast promotions and specials, development of new marketing concepts and programs, utilization of new and emerging digital platforms and social media. He also oversaw paid media as well as search and auction-based media buying. Scott was responsible for the operations side of Disney Parks’ internal creative agency, Yellow Shoes Creative Group.  He became the first Brand Manager of Epcot® Park where he helped develop the strategic position for the Park as well as its year-long Millennium program.

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Rebecca Latham

New Mexico Tourism Department, Cabinet Secretary
 

An Update on Tourism in New Mexico

With 2014 being a record-setting year for tourism in New Mexico, Secretary Rebecca Latham will go over what the Tourism Department has accomplished and learned during her freshman year as the Cabinet Secretary.  Leveraging from that success, she will discuss the forecasting growth of New Mexican tourism and what the Tourism Department plans to implement over the next year.

Secretary Rebecca Latham Bio:

In January 2015 Governor Susana Martinez appointed Rebecca as the Cabinet Secretary of the Tourism Department. With more than a decade of experience in advertising and marketing, Rebecca is a passionate tourism professional who has served New Mexico's hospitality industry since 2006. She brings a wealth of experience across all aspects of the marketing spectrum including economic development, strategic messaging, brand development, public relations, and communications. Under her leadership the Tourism Department is focused on building awareness and driving travel to The Land of Enchantment through the New Mexico True campaign, which delivers a 7:1 ROI at the tax base level (Longwoods Intl 2015).

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Marketing Breakout Speaker Presentations & Bios


A Hands-On Guide to Media Plan Evaluation Panel

Get an in-depth look at how to evaluate your media plan to make sure it's working hardest for you. Hear negotiation tips, how to get the most added value, and ways to identify whether or not your media dollars are being used as efficiently as possible. 

Moderator: Brendon Smith, Lamar Advertising New Mexico and El Paso Texas

Brendon Smith is currently the Sales Manager for Lamar Advertising New Mexico/ El Paso TX. Brendon has been in this position for 5 years following a promotion and relocation from Lamar Advertising in Asheville NC where he was an Account Executive. His current duties include supervising the sales of over 2000 billboards throughout New Mexico and El Paso. Prior to working for Lamar, Brendon was in the hospitality industry in his hometown of Pensacola FL for 8 years. He resides in Albuquerque with his wife and two children.

 

Panelists:

Cimin Cohen, Talweg Creative

Cimin Cohen has been in the media industry for almost a decade on both the agency and publisher side. During this time, she led cross-channel strategic media planning and buying for Fortune 500 companies including Best Buy, Microsoft, Intel, Zurich Insurance, and Kraft Foods. Cimin has also served as a mobile marketing center of excellence across various agencies and brands, and she helped launch, and sat on the board of, the Women in Wireless Chicago chapter. In her free time, Cimin enjoys yoga and spending time outdoors with her husband, Ed, and dog, Magnet.                               

 

 

Cara Garretson, Associate Media Director, McKee Wallwork

Cara Garretson has been with McKee Wallwork + Co. since 2006, and is responsible for the development and management of strategic media plans. As the Associate Media Director, she has overseen campaigns across a myriad of consumer and B2B industries, ranging from traditional to digital media channels. Cara’s work has been nationally recognized, receiving Media Magazine’s Creative Media Award in the Outdoor or Place-Based Media category. But she’s not all no-nonsense. She plays just as hard as she works, enjoying her free time camping, off-roading, and spending time with her husband and her daughter.

 

 

Cheri Kofakis, Owner, Target Media

Cheri has 35 years of media experience and started her career with an advertising agency in Santa Fe, NM.  Other agency experience includes working with firms in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Albuquerque.  In 2006 Cheri moved to Ruidoso, NM and launched Target Media so that she could personalize her services for a more strategic approach to planning and buying.  In 2013 she moved to New Braunfels, TX and continues to travel to Ruidoso each quarter to present media research, activity and recommendations.

Over the years Cheri has worked with clients from several industries but she has a special affinity for those representing tourism and hospitality.  Her experience in New Mexico includes the New Mexico Tourism Department, tourism departments in Ruidoso, Santa Fe, Roswell, Las Cruces, Gallup and the Heart of NM, various resorts and hotels and a Mexico initiative for communities in southern NM.


Social Media Workshop Part I and II

Facebook has more than 1.3 billion monthly active users worldwide; over 500 million tweets are sent via Twitter each day; and new social networks continue to gain traction. Social media is no longer a buzzword, but a firmly established global communication and marketing phenomenon.  

For many travel and tourism organizations, the path to becoming "social" has been one of trial and error, and this new and rapidly changing channel poses an array of challenges. From keeping up with emerging social networks and building followers to driving engagement and measuring success, devising and executing a social media strategy is a complex undertaking.   

In this session, we will share valuable insights, takeaways, and techniques travel and tourism organizations can implement to leverage the power of social media as an integral marketing channel. 

Georgianne Brown, Managing Partner, Big Couch Media Group

Georgianne Brown is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Big Couch Media Group, a leading strategic consulting and full service digital agency based in West Palm Beach, Florida.   Georgianne has over 25 years of extensive hands on background and proven track record in leading many highly recognized brands, organizations, and entrepreneurial growth companies to leverage the power of digital media.

Prior to Big Couch Media Group, Georgianne served as President at BabyUniverse.com, a publicly traded leading online retailer and digital media company for new and expectant parents. Georgianne was a key member of the leadership team involved in completing a $276 million merger with eToys Direct in 2007.

In addition, Georgianne has held several key senior executive management roles in travel and tourism most notably at Certified Vacations Group, at the time, exclusive operator of the Delta Vacations and Continental Airlines Vacations brands, as well as led consumer marketing at Alamo Rent A Car.

Ryan Monahan, Social Media Strategist, Big Couch Media Group

Ryan Monahan is the lead Social Media Strategist for Big Couch Media Group.  Ryan exploded onto the digital scene in the early 2000's working with many Fortune 100 companies such as Brunswick Corporation, 20th Century Fox, Konami, and Sega Amusements.  With the ability to leverage forward thinking and strategic execution, Ryan quickly rose to senior level positions to lead groundbreaking digital technology projects that spanned multiple countries. 

Early on, Ryan was an early adopter and pioneer in the concept that content would become a valuable commodity and important for organizations to reach their target audience to engage at the top of the funnel.  In late 2012, Ryan began speaking about his ‘value first’ content strategy to many senior level executives. 

Today, Ryan and the Big Couch Media Group team continue to innovate the “value first” content strategy, with the integration and development of a groundbreaking data driven automated platform.  This platform is designed to deliver targeted messaging across multiple social networks with the mission to help organizations engage and acquire new prospects.

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The Power Of Partnerships

You have a great product and a willing potential audience…if only you had the resources to launch a Marketing campaign to capitalize on it all. The answer may lie in partnering with a compatible third party, leveraging their assets for your mutual benefit. In this work session we’ll explore a few guiding principles for considering who would make great [and no-so-great] Marketing partners as well as what to include in a “pitch” to sell in your proposal for a partnering relationship. During the session Scott Cassidy will discuss some of the partnership programs he activated during his 28 years with Disney Parks. This will be a highly interactive session with attendees breaking into groups to try their hands at picking the right partner, crafting the perfect partner pitch and imagining how it might ultimately look to consumers.

Scott Cassidy, Disney Parks & Resorts, SVP, Global Alliance Marketing (retired)

For the past 28 years Scott Cassidy has been one of the Disney Parks Marketing “Magic Makers”. Until his recent retirement from Disney, Scott served as Senior Vice President, Global Alliance Marketing, Media Strategy & Activation and Yellow Shoes Creative Group Operations for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. In that capacity, Scott led a team of over 300 people in PR, Promotions, Special Events, Broadcast, Synergy, Creative Ideation, Digital Marketing, Media Planning, Search and Auction and Yellow Shoes Operations Cast members. Scott oversaw media promotions, third party partnerships, public relations, on and off-property special events, broadcast promotions and specials, development of new marketing concepts and programs, utilization of new and emerging digital platforms and social media. He also oversaw paid media as well as search and auction-based media buying. Scott was responsible for the operations side of Disney Parks’ internal creative agency, Yellow Shoes Creative Group.  He became the first Brand Manager of Epcot® Park where he helped develop the strategic position for the Park as well as its year-long Millennium program.

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Developing Your Destination Breakout Speaker Presentations & Bios


Panel: Measuring the Impact Your Event Has on Your Local Economy

Local communities, Chambers and Tourism Bureaus rely heavily on festivals and special events to generate spending and increase the Influx of visitors and new money into the local economy.

It can be difficult for a Main Street program, a tourism bureau, or a chamber of commerce to justify the spending that is necessary to host these events. More and more sponsors, local governments and lodgers tax boards want to know that their investment in funding special events

This session will discuss how many local events measure economic impact and how this information is used to improve events and justify support from local governments, lodgers tax boards and sponsors.

Moderator: Priscilla Bloomquist PhD, New Mexico State University

Priscilla Bloomquist, PhD is a Professor in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management at New Mexico State University.  Born and raised in Wisconsin, she earned a B.A. in Economics, and an M.S. in Hospitality and Tourism from the University of Wisconsin and her Ph.D. in Educational Management from New Mexico State University.

In 1988, Priscilla moved to Las Cruces to assist in starting what is now the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management.  She has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards and has also been responsible for over $1 million dollars in grants/contract work through the New Mexico Tourism Department, the U.S. Forest Service, the New Mexico Economic Development Department, New Mexico State Parks, and served as the Project Director on three USDA education grants.  

Panelists

Chris Cordova, Southwest Planning LLC

Chris Cordova is the principal at Southwest Planning and Marketing.  Mr. Cordova specializes in market research, economic development, project management facilitation and planning. In addition to his duties as principal of SWPM, Chris serves the firm as consultant, facilitator, analyst, and marketing researcher, and works with communities, marketing and planning organizations at both the local and national levels. With 15 years of experience working on tribal projects, Chris has also developed and managed a marketing research program for the New Mexico Department of Tourism (1991 to 1996), and was appointed by Governor Gary Johnson as the New Mexico State Fair Marketing Director (1996 and 1997). In 1998, Mr. Cordova, implemented a New Mexico Welcome Center Master Plan. He went into private practice in 1999, starting CRC & Associates, which merged with Southwest Planning in 2012.  Chris holds degrees in Marketing, and Management, from the University of New Mexico Anderson Schools of Management. 

 

Heather Tanner, International Folk Art Alliance

Heather Tanner is the Director of Advancement for the International Folk Art Alliance, home of the annual global celebration, the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe. Heather joined IFAA in 2010 to help donors empower folk artists and communities across the globe through their support. Prior to joining IFAA, her nonprofit experience included work with homeless youth in Northern New Mexico and international health education. She graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in Art and the Global Community, an interdisciplinary degree focusing on the intersection between art and social change.                               

 

 


Lisa Boeke, Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce

Lisa Boeke currently serves as Tourism Director for Carlsbad.  Boeke who has been with the Bureau for more than 13 years has been involved with the tourism industry in New Mexico on many levels. Boeke has held a position as President for the New Mexico Tourism Association and currently serves as chair for the Southeast region under the guidance of the New Mexico Tourism Department.  Boeke enjoys working in the tourism industry and one of her most successful accomplishments has been Christmas on the Pecos which is one of the state’s unique holiday events and this year will be celebrating 25 years.  Christmas on the Pecos has been recognized by the American Bus Association as a top 100 must see event in North America.

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Visitor Journey A2D - Arrival to Departure

Customer Service Training is coming to New Mexico! 

Visitor Journey A2D™ is statewide, customer service training through the lens of tourism. The learning objectives and the skill development exercises are transferable to all types of industries and situations. But...it is customized just for your destination.   Learn how you can bring this program to your community! 

Moderator: Jen Schroer, New Mexico Hospitality Association, President & CEO

Jen Schroer has a Master’s of Business Administration and over 15 years of work experience ranging from entrepreneurship, economic development, marketing and communications. In March 2013, Jen relocated to Albuquerque, NM with her husband, who is a native New Mexican.  She quickly found a role with the New Mexico Tourism Department and in the Fall of 2014, became the President & CEO of the New Mexico Hospitality Association.

Prior to moving, Jen was the Director of Communications for the Fresno Business Council (a membership based association representing the largest businesses and nonprofits in the region).  Her work was sharply focused on economic development strategies and building coalitions locally and throughout the state.  Here she was part of the leadership council for the regional economic summit and served on California Forward’s economic summit communication committee. Jen was also appointed to the California Stewardship Network (a statewide economic and prosperity think tank).

Panelists:

Tonya Stinson, Executive Director of Farmington CVB

Tonya Stinson, Chair Farmington Convention & Visitors Bureau Tonya Stinson is the Executive Director of the Farmington Convention & Visitors Bureau where she has worked since 2000. Tonya is a member of several tourism related organizations and serves as Chair of the New Mexico Hospitality Association as well as being the City of Farmington and San Juan County endorsed liaison to the New Mexico Film Office. In 2015, she was appointed to the Governor’s Council on Film and Media Industries.

 

 

Kimberly Patterson, CEO of Visitor Engagement Academy

Kimberly Patterson discovered her love of tourism in high school working summer jobs in guest relations at the YMCA of the Rockies in Colorado. While attending the University of Denver, she stayed on the front-line, working in hotels, restaurants, and retail. Eventually becoming a Certified Travel and Tour Director opened up a whole new world for her. That broad experience, both front and back of house, served her well in a 20+ year career in planning meetings, incentives and events.

While working for Destination Management Organizations (DMO) In Hawaii and Las Vegas, and the Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) in Tucson, Kimberly caught a passion for training and education. She developed a comprehensive training program for DMC Account Managers and Travel Directors, and as part of her consulting practice since 2007, has designed, authored and facilitated the customized Certified Tourism Ambassador™ (CTA) curriculum for numerous destination marketing organizations (DMOs).    

Mickey Schaefer, FASAE, CAE, CTA, Mickey Schaefer & Associates LLC, President

A prominent industry leader, Mickey Schaefer, has been honored in many ways: for her service as Chairman of the Board of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA); being named four times among the “25 Most Influential in the Meetings Industry” by Meeting News and Successful Meetings magazines, most recently in 2013; and as a 2006 inductee into the Convention Industry Council’s prestigious Hall of Leaders – the highest honor in the industry – for her leadership in standardizing our industry through the CIC APEX initiative.

Known for executing big picture thinking, in addition to founding the Certified Tourism Ambassador™ (CTA) program that is now thousands of front-line strong (CTANetwork.com), Schaefer co-founded The EXPERIENCE Institute™ that provides a consumer-based standards framework to deliver and measure the visitor experience through its Experience Dedicated™ Destination (EDD) accreditation program.  These programs led to her recognition among the top six industry leaders by Smart Meetings magazine in April 2013.

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Country Music Festival: How to Get a Signature Event Off the Ground

Establishing an appropriate signature event for your destination requires an understanding of your target audience as well as very careful planning.  That’s just the beginning! Visit Las Cruces has had considerable success with its Country Music Festival; but it required a tremendous investment of time and money to get the festival where it is today.  This workshop will give you a behind-the scene view at what makes a successful event. We’ll examine the thought process, strategic decisions, logistics and marketing of a major event.   Workshop takeaways will include an event planning checklist and a step-by-step process for establishing your event plan.

Jennifer Bales, Las Cruces Convention and Visitors Bureau

Jennifer Bales serves as the Director of Sales at the Las Cruces Convention and Visitors Bureau where she has worked since 2007.  As part of the executive team, she manages special events such as the Las Cruces Country Music Festival and oversees the CVB Sales department where she has implemented hospitality training workshops for local businesses.  Jen is currently part of the New Mexico Hospitality Association Hospitality and Tourism Taskforce and was the Membership Chair for over three years while serving on the Board of Directors when the association was known as Tourism Association of New Mexico (TANM).  She is actively involved with the state’s exhibit for IPW for the past several years.

 

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Group Tour Market May be BIG for New Mexico

This breakout session explores the emerging trends of the group tour segment as well as essential marketing tools and product development strategies to compete.  Learn how you, industry suppliers and destinations, can reach new audiences.  

Moderator: Jen Schroer, New Mexico Hospitality Association, President & CEO

Jen Schroer has a Master’s of Business Administration and over 15 years of work experience ranging from entrepreneurship, economic development, marketing and communications. In March 2013, Jen relocated to Albuquerque, NM with her husband, who is a native New Mexican.  She quickly found a role with the New Mexico Tourism Department and in the Fall of 2014, became the President & CEO of the New Mexico Hospitality Association.

Prior to moving, Jen was the Director of Communications for the Fresno Business Council (a membership based association representing the largest businesses and nonprofits in the region).  Her work was sharply focused on economic development strategies and building coalitions locally and throughout the state.  Here she was part of the leadership council for the regional economic summit and served on California Forward’s economic summit communication committee. Jen was also appointed to the California Stewardship Network (a statewide economic and prosperity think tank).

Panelists:

Mark Bleth, Follow The Sun

Mark Bleth started his career in tourism in 2003 when he co-founded Follow The Sun (FTS) with his wife Rose. The company has grown from a single van and mini bus in one location to over 30 vehicles in 3 locations in New Mexico.

FTS is the exclusive Tour Operator for Spaceport America (SPA) in Sierra County since 2011 and the Spaceport America Visitor Center in downtown Truth or Consequences.  The opening of the new interactive Spaceport America Experience began in June 2015.  The center will also feature SPA merchandise and a space themed café.

 

Stephen Ekstrom, Fire Starter Brands LLC

Stephen Ekstrom is one of the tourism industry’s most influential leaders.  He recently completed his second term representing travel industry suppliers, museums, attractions, destination marketing organizations and partners as a member of the Student Youth Travel Association’s (SYTA) Board of Directors, has been a committee member for the American Bus Association (ABA), as well as being a long-standing, active participant in numerous travel industry associations including NTA, the Ontario Motorcoach Association (OMCA) and NYC & Company.

Prior to founding Fire Starter Brands, Stephen was an integral part of the creative marketing mix for nationally recognized brands like Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, The Nederlander Producing Company, The Rainforest Cafe, Applebee’s, Chevys Fresh Mex and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.  He’s been featured in numerous travel industry publications and has been profiled in the New York Times Business Section.

From trade representation to creating new programs, product lines and packaging, Stephen’s efforts have worked to increase visitation, brand recognition and profitability.  He’s a frequent guest lecturer on strategic marketing at Columbia University, workshop presenter and featured speaker at travel conferences and panelist for numerous industry accreditation programs.

Alex Shelton, Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau

Alex Shelton serves as Vice President of Convention Sales, Services & Sports at the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB). He guides the collective destination team to turn qualified meeting, convention and sporting event leads into definite business for Albuquerque and ensure the groups have successful meetings and events in the city. With more than 25 years of experience in the meetings and hospitality Industry, Shelton has previously been selected by his peers within the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) to serve as National Chairman of the Industry Issues Committees within these organizations, and was a guest speaker for PCMA, IAEE and Meeting Professionals International (MPI) national conventions. He joined ACVB most recently from Las Vegas, Nevada, where he has sold all convention, group and FIT/tour and travel segments for the Venetian and Imperial Palace, working with groups of all sizes. 

 

Revenue Generation Breakout Speaker Presentations & Bios


X-File No More: Wow Planners and Win More Business

Do meeting planning professionals sometime seem alien to you?  Do you ever think there is a conspiracy on why you lost that great piece of business to your competitor? Grab your flashlight and get ready to probe common missteps that can occur throughout the sales process, from the RFP response to the site visit, that can cause a planner to disappear quicker than a UFO.   What are the most important concessions planners respond to?  What makes a site visit a triumph or a travesty? How is digital impacting decisions?  The truth is out there!   

Laura Kesselman, Kesselman-Jones, Inc.

If you work in hospitality in New Mexico, you know Laura. She’s been a leader in the industry for 25 years, and has served the community in various capacities. In addition to her role as president and CEO of the largest meeting and event planning firm in the state, she is the current president of MPI New Mexico, immediate past chair of the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors, an ex officio member of the board for the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, and a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico. She has been deemed a Woman of Influence and Top CEO by Albuquerque Business First, and recently completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Intensive Entrepreneurship Training at Babson College. Laura earned the prestigious Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM) in 2015.

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The Business of Knowing Your Customers' Business - Revenue Generating Ideas for the Hospitality Industry

The hospitality industry has perishable inventory.  When a table, hotel room, seat on a tour/flight goes unreserved, that’s potential revenue that is lost.  This breakout session will go over what I’ve learned in the restaurant business (from using data, branding, understanding your competitors, giving back, and much more!) and how it can apply to the hotel and travel industry.  

Peter Avis, Virgin Group

Since 2001 Peter Avis has been the Restaurant Manager at the prestigious Babylon Restaurant, at The Kensington Roof Gardens in London. During this period he has worked directly for Virgin Group Chief, Sir Richard Branson. In 2009 Peter won the highly coveted UK Restaurant Manager of the Year Award and a prestigious Catey Award for Manager of the Year in 2014.

Peter is passionate about raising people’s awareness of the importance of front of house staff in his industry. He says “I also want to inspire people in the industry and, of course keep developing Babylon. I’m always on the lookout for new concepts.” Richard Branson is highly supportive and complimentary of his employee whom he has worked with for the past 14 years. In 2014 Peter was the recipient of the Richard Branson Special Award for Services to the Community.

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Panel: Small, Strategic Investments for Big Returns - Creating Hotel Placemakers: From “Heads to Beds” to “Work. Play, Stay”

What are hotels doing to not only get their guests to stay at their property but to have them stay longer and spend more?  During this panel discussion, they will discuss what creative investments they have implemented to generate more revenue that has provided big returns.

Moderator: Peter Avis, Virgin Group

Since 2001 Peter Avis has been the Restaurant Manager at the prestigious Babylon Restaurant, at The Kensington Roof Gardens in London. During this period he has worked directly for Virgin Group Chief, Sir Richard Branson. In 2009 Peter won the highly coveted UK Restaurant Manager of the Year Award and a prestigious Catey Award for Manager of the Year in 2014.

Peter is passionate about raising people’s awareness of the importance of front of house staff in his industry. He says “I also want to inspire people in the industry and, of course keep developing Babylon. I’m always on the lookout for new concepts.” Richard Branson is highly supportive and complimentary of his employee whom he has worked with for the past 14 years. In 2014 Peter was the recipient of the Richard Branson Special Award for Services to the Community.

Panelists:

Hal Leonard, Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder

Hal Leonard is currently General Manager of Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder and Homewood Suites. In this position, Hal oversees the day-to-day operations of the 395-room golf resort and casino as well as the 81 all-suites hotel.

 

 

 

Belia Alvarez, Heritage Hotels and Resorts

Belia Alvarez is a native of Las Cruces, NM.  She has more than 18 years of hospitality experience and is currently the Corporate Director of Hospitality for Heritage Hotels & Resorts.  Heritage Hotels & Resorts is a New Mexico-based, minority-owned and cultural hospitality company offering a collection of award-winning, distinctly styled New Mexico accommodations. Most recently, she was the Regional General Manager of Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces and the Hilton Garden Inn.  Alvarez is currently the President for "Friends of Visit Las Cruces, board member for the New Mexico Hospitality Association, Las Cruces Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, NMSU HRTM, Borderplex Tourism Task Force  and newly appointed Commissioner of Tourism by Governor Martinez.  Alvarez also most recently was the past Chair of the Las Cruces Convention & Visitor’s Bureau Advisory Board, served as Executive Director for the Miss NM USA Organization, a Miss Universe/ NBC Universal joint venture for 17 years, and 2015 Co-Chair for the Las Cruces Spanish Market.

 

Steve Smith, Total Management Systems Inc.

Steve Smith has served in hospitality since 2002 and has worked for Total Management Systems since 2014. His primary focus is to work toward achieving the company’s vision. His responsibilities include revenue management, profitability, oversight of the entire portfolio, building the desired culture, and strengthening the company’s infrastructure. He has expertise in all aspects of hotel operations with proficiency in marketing, food, beverage, and technology. As a visionary and leader, Stephen has established strategic plans where every hotel will consistently achieve or exceed the brand’s standards, revenue indexes and out-perform the marketplace. Stephen is keenly focused on guest satisfaction, associate engagement, training and developing top performers. He is an integral part of the management group and his high level of expertise has contributed to the company’s aggressive growth plans including the addition of five new hotels to the portfolio in the past year alone.

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How to Train and Lead Your Sales Team to Generate New Business

This content rich and highly motivational session will help you lead your sales team to achieve greater success and exceed their goals faster. You will learn key strategies and actionable solutions that you can implement immediately to bring lasting results. This is a must attend session for any sales professional, sales manager, or organization who wants to improve sales and generate more business. In this session you will learn:

• The Art and Science of Activating Team Greatness
• The 3 Questions that Accelerate Opportunity and Generate Uncommon Results
• The 4 Absolutes of a Sales Team Who Dominates their Market

Jerome Wade,Chief Epic Officer, The Epic Advantage

Jerome brings creative content rich with solutions that speak to the real world struggles and leadership challenges of professionals. Having launched and led two non profit organizations and two for profit companies, he understands the demands and dilemmas of executive life and leadership.

As an expert in leadership, human performance and motivation, Jerome is a practitioner first and an educator second. Having delivered more than 2500 presentations, he speaks from a place of authenticity and experience. Jerome has trained leaders internationally in both small and large group settings and knows how to inspire and mobilize leadership greatness.

With energy and authority, Jerome awakens audiences to fully engage and participate in the presentation creating an epic experience for everyone. Jerome’s presentation style inspires the heart, informs the mind, and fuels transformational results in people and organizations. His first book The Epic Advantage is to be released Summer 2016.

Jerome is the Chief Epic Officer of The Epic Advantage, a global leadership development company that helps top tier professionals build and lead high performing people, teams, and organizations.

Watch Jerome's videos:

Breakout Session Promotional Video

Jerome Wade Promo Video

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We are the unified voice to influence and inspire a growing New Mexico hospitality industry.

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